In 1999 Luke Haines sang “I had a dream in black and white, the futures 1955”, on a bad day I’m pretty sure he was right. An everlasting 1955; perpetual stasis in squaredom. Today’s icons are self-made men (and sometimes women) with no time for idleness. I’m thinking of yer Gordon Ramseys and yer Alan Sugars. The Apprentice seems to me like a search for the ultimate conformist, the person whose lie dream is strong enough to make their very life a sales pitch. What does this country produce? We are no longer a nation of shopkeepers but a nation of salesman. From the heart of the city, to the shaky bottom rungs of the property ladder; no energy is created but the pieces are moved, the pieces are sold. It’s the stolid entropy of a sham nation. And we celebrate those who manage to heave themselves to the top of the heap. Well done, well done and you, you can to it too! There’s room at the top they’re telling you still.
Britain’s key pop-cult figures seem like tragic warnings of wandering too far from these prescribed paths. The likes of Pete Doherty and Amy Winehouse sometime seem like characters from those schlocky “Evil Reefer” public information films. Grave warnings to any youngster naive enough to believe that a 9-5 with no lunch and some binge drinking on the weekend may not be a design for life.
It surprises me to say this but I found myself cheering on Johnny Vegas last Friday. Surprising, only because of this rather gruesome story about his behaviour towards a young woman, which made me take rather a dislike to him. No it was his behaviour on “Tonight With Jonathan Ross” where with he showed the a hilarious lack of respect to the aforementioned Mr Sugar. The look on Siralan’s face was brilliant, trying to take it all in good humour but obviously massively pissed off at not getting the ass kissing he so obviously felt he deserved. Sometimes it’s good to remember that being rich doesn’t automatically mean you should be respected.
So as a thumbed nose to the new yuppie age we are living through here is a selection of songs that suggest that being a walking sales pitch is no way to live. Songs that luxuriate in a good natured laid back slackness that transcends the suits and the cynics.
Madder Rose – Swim
I have a version of this -labeled “Madder Rose – Madder Rose”- that, by getting rid of the guitar, manages to be even more slack.
Joy Zipper – 1
I said the following about this song nearly two years ago:
This is so perfect a deployment of American alt rock tropes that it’s hard not to just sit here listing all the bands whose influence is hidden within: The Pixies, Pavement, The Breeders, Archers Of Loaf… all these and more slink somewhere just beneath the surface. The chugging rhythms, guitars that teeter between lazy strum and all out amp attack – yet would never be so crass as to do so, the lead male vocal that radiates the kind of laid back slacker charm that seemed to have been absent from rock since Stephen Malkmus decided being endearing didn’t suit him, the sun blushed female backing vocals. Then the two voices become so perfectly intertwined, their repetition of “the one” takes on an almost mantric quality and our suburban romantic and the deified object of his affections, “the sun was in her hands” apparently, spiral off above the streets and Joy Zipper too spiral away, off and above, transcending their influences and sounding like no one but themselves.
[10 out of 10]
Hey me two years ago, you are still on the money.
Mariah Carey ft Ol’ Dirty Bastard – Fantasy Remix
Totally loved up meets totally don’t give a fuck.
The Lemonheads – My Drug Buddy
I would really have preferred to have used “Rockin’ Stroll” which celebrates the myriad pleasures of going for a walk. This on the other hand celebrates the myriad pleasures of drug abuse but it’s still pretty blissful.
Lush – 500 (Shake Baby Shake)
Sometimes a small car is better than a big one.
Snoop Dogg – Gin and Juice
Not sure about slack but so laid back it’s pretty much horizontal.
Pavement – Range Life
“Out on my skateboard the night is just humming…”
I am not gonna link “Fools Gold” (Stone Roses), “Teenage Riot” (Sonic Youth) or “Freak Scene” (Dinosaur Jr.) but y know they all really fit as well.